When Sir Arthur Byrne fell ill, after three summers at his post in the little consulate that overlooked the lonely waters of the Black Sea, he applied for sick leave. Having obtained it, he hurried home to scatter guineas in Harley Street; for he felt all the uneasy doubts as to his future which a strong man who has never in his life known what it is to have a headache is apt to experience at the first symptom that all is not well. Outwardly, he pretended to make light of the matter. Drains, that's what it is, he would say to some of the passengers to whom he confided the altered state of his health on board the boat which carried him to Constantinople. As soon as I get back to a civilized sewage system I shall be myself again. These Eastern towns are all right for Orientals; and what is your Muscovite but an Oriental, in all essentials of hygiene? But they play the deuce with a European who has grown up in a country where people still indulge in a sense of smell.
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June 30, 2010
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